Conservative-controlled Tamworth Borough Council is to pay as a reward to tenants vacating property who pass an "exit inspection" of the property being clean and tidy and remember to hand their keys in on time. The Council currently spends over £200,000 a year on removing rubbish from empty council homes, £50,000 on repairs to damage caused by tenants and a further £10,000 in lost rents and legal fees to recover properties when keys are not handed in on time. With 300 tenants leaving properties a year the total cost of the reward could be £15,000 – but the Council estimate the savings at £26,000.
Cllr Mary Oates, Cabinet member for Quality of Life, said:
“It costs a lot of money to take the necessary legal steps to get the keys back and also means that residents on the waiting list have to wait longer before they can move in. It is not acceptable to have properties standing empty when there are families waiting for homes.
“This new incentive is a relatively small investment which we are hoping will lead to substantial savings.”
Some will say: "Why should people be paid £50 just to do what they should be doing anyway." but the reality is that a private landlord faced with such a problem could dock the deposit. When the Council is the landlord recovering the lost rent or cost of repairs is a matter of taking legal action. The scheme sounds to me as though it makes sense.